SOUTHERN INVASION

By Rafe Griffin, Co-Editor

As we know, there were a heap of departures from Queensland to the NPL Victoria in the most recent off-season. With a break in football here for the Easter recess, it presents the perfect opportunity to check in on how the Queenslanders are faring down south.

Matt Thurtell – Bentleigh Greens

Thurtell made an immediate impact in the competition, catching the eyes of the pundits in making cornerflag.com.au NPL Victoria Team of the Week in both week one and week two after scoring in his debut against North Geelong before collecting a brace in his second match against Dandenong Thunder.

He has subsequently netted three times with a current season total of six, making him the league’s leading scorer. Adelaide United coach, Josep Gombau, a keen observer of his efforts at a recent Bentleigh match.

Chris Lucas – Bentleigh Greens

With Thurtell in the middle of the forward line, it’s meant a shift for Lucas on to the left wing, something not completely unfamiliar to him in his time at Palm Beach.

Lucas has played in of Bentleigh’s fixtures to date but was substituted in his opening two matches. That seemed to spur him on to better performances, scoring in two of Bentleigh’s most recent league matches against Victorian heavyweights, Heidelberg and South Melbourne. Is also playing the role of provider to Thurtell, setting up the former Strikers marksman with at least two assists.

Troy Ruthven – Bentleigh Greens

Following Lucas from Palm Beach to the Greens was midfielder Ruthven. Has had three performances so far in 2015, playing all but two minutes in the opening match against North Geelong, a full match against Heidelberg and coming on as a late sub against South Melbourne.

Securing a place in the starting in round six against Green Gully earning him a spot in cornerflag.com.au Team of the Week, describing his efforts as ‘Doing a role in defensive midfield, he was everywhere against Gully, sweeping up danger laterally across the pitch. Won the ball back a countless amount of times and his tenacious display went a long way towards Bentleigh earning a point against Gully.’

Tyson Holmes – Bentleigh Greens

While this is his first year at the Greens, it’s not his first year in the Victorian competition having transferred from former NSL club South Melbourne in the off-season. The combination that has been formed between he, Lucas and Thurtell, was in evidence in the match against Holmes’s former club where the three linked up in one of Bentleigh’s goals on the night.

His effort in that match seeing him named in cornerflag.com.au round five team of the week.

Liam McCormick – Bentleigh Greens

It’s been joked that the Greens should be renamed the Maroons with the number of Queenslanders that are at the club. The season three winner of reality show Football Superstar was a part of Bentleigh’s FFA Cup semi-final run last year but has found himself mainly as a substitute so far this year with one game in the starting eleven and four apprearances off the bench. Coming off the bench, he scored the goal that clinched Bentleigh’s 3-1 win against Heidelberg.

The five Queenslanders ensuring that Bentleigh currently occupy third place on the ladder.

Postscript: After this story was inititally drafted, Tyson Holmes bagged a brace and Chris Lucas scored the other goal in Bentleigh Greens 3-1 win over the previous top-of-the-table Melbourne Knights on Thursday 2 April. Bentleigh leapfrogging the Knights into first place.

Jai Ingham – Hume City

It’s understandable that with the number of Queenslanders involved at Bentleigh, that other players have been out of eyesight but we’ll need to keep a closer eye on Hume City with the former Olympic and Brisbane Roar player in their ranks.

Ingham has scored in four of his club’s five matches, his goal against Avondale seeing him named on the bench in cornerflag.com.au Week 2 Team of the Week but with his two-goal effort against North Geelong, he made the Round 5 Team of the Week starting lineup. His side are off to a flyer, sitting in second place on the table, only dropping one game.

Reuben Way – Heidelberg United

A noted goal scorer during his time in Queensland, Way has been unable to find the back of the net in his time so far at the former NSL club. Was sent off for a second yellow card in his side’s 3-1 loss to Bentleigh Greens, reducing the opportunities he’s had for his new side.

Jack Petrie – Heidelberg United

His second year at the club where he scored seven goals last year, the flame–haired former Olympic player has been a consistent part of Heidelberg’s squad. Heidelberg currently occupy a mid-table position after playing five matches.

Griffin McMaster – Heidelberg United

McMaster has returned to the club where he won the 2011 Victorian Premier League goalkeeper of the year award. The former Brisbane Roar A-League player transferred back to the club after a stint at Oakleigh Cannons.

Identified as a key signing for Heidelberg during the off-season, he has been a steadying influence with three clean sheets in 2015.

Jake McLean – Oakleigh Cannons

It’s not been a happy start to the season for the Miron Bleiberg coached side, sitting dead last on the table with four losses from four outings and having not scored a goal in the 2015 league.

McLean’s role has been off the bench for the Cannons, starting as a substitute in all four matches gaining 20, 24, 16 and 27 minutes of game time respectively. With the Cannons failing to fire so far, perhaps Bleiberg may consider utilising the talented McLean in a starting role as an attempt to turn their fortunes around.

Tom Murphy – Green Gully

The former FNQ Heat player is plying his trade alongside former Melbourne Victory player Roddy Vargas. Murphy has spent half of his matches starting from the bench with Green Gully having a reasonable start to the season, sitting in the top half of the table, succumbing to just the one loss from six matches.

Greg Thomas – Bendigo City

The former Lions player has taken on a player/coach role in the Victorian provincial city and it seems to be agreeing with him. Bendigo are in the second tier NPL 1 West competition and currently lead that league. Thomas has played in all five of his side’s matches, starting four and coming on as a sub in the other.

Jason Shade – Bendigo City

A host of Queenslanders have followed Thomas to Bendigo, including Shade who spent 2014 at Brisbane Strikers. Shade has completed 90 minutes in all five matches for his new club.

Corey Slevin – Bendigo City

Corey has contributed three goals in his club’s tally of ten this season, scoring a double against Nunawading City and a goal in the round previous to that against Ballarat Red Devils.

Karl Slevin – Bendigo City

After playing with Mitchelton in Brisbane’s second tier of football last year, he has joined his brother in making the trek down south and is an integral part of coach Thomas’s plans for this season.

Jordan Seeto – Bendigo City

The 2010 Australian Schoolboys representative is yet another Queenslander to link up with Greg Thomas. Seeto has a return of one goal this year, coming in his side’s 3-0 win over Brunswick City.

Riley Dillon – Bendigo City

Technically not a Queenslander, hailing from the Northern Rivers of New South Wales but was part of Palm Beach’s 2014 title winning NPL side and named as right back in the league’s team of the year. Dillon has been a part of the five matches that his club has played.

Michael Eagar – South Melbourne

Another ‘honourary Queenslander’ after coming across the ditch to be part of the Redlands side that tasted title success in 2012’s Brisbane Premier League, Eager is now in his third year in Victoria and captains South in his second year at the club.

Was named in cornerflag.com.au team of the week in round four and with this Facebook page, seems to have a keen following.

Credits: NPL Victoria (as per information available at 31 March 2015) and cornerflag.com.au

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